back to article US law on age proof in explicit images is ruled unconstitutional

A law requiring publishers of sexually explicit content to document and record the age of participants in material has been ruled unconstitutional by a US court. Experts had warned that the law could cause problems for photo-sharing websites. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has said that the law broke the US …

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Happy

How old am I?

If you answer that question incorrectly there is a fine and jail time waiting for you.

They were playing politics without caring that the law could never work. Playing to their base, with a 'won't somebody think of the children' message instead of coming up with a solution that would work.

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Rob
Alert

Ironic

"Kennedy said that the Court understood that preventing the trade in images of child abuse was important but that was not a justification for any law the government chose to enact in the name of that prevention."

could easily read:

"Bush said that the Court understood that preventing terrorism was important but that was not a justification for any law the government chose to enact in the name of that prevention." - If only.

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Minority report...

First, I agree with the findings of the court - child pornography is despicable, but forcing people to record the ages (and, IIRC the addresses) of anyone photographed, whether naked or not, whether for commercial purposes or not, is the wrong approach.

However, and only slightly related to this, has anyone else noticed the tendency for these decisions, when made by a panel of judges, to be made by the smallest majority? Two in the case of three judges, three in the case of five, four in the case of seven. It seems that the attitude is one of bet-hedging: we'll make a decision, but in the event of that decision being later shown not to be the correct one, the judges can say "oh well, we were nearly right. If only X hadn't tipped the balance" etc. etc.

Stuart

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Silver badge

Chilling effect

Forgive a slight divergence from the subject, but whilst this is only, of course, legally relevant to the US, the "Chilling effect" it mentions and "that enforcers can seek out and silence particularly disliked people or speech" certainly seems relevant to the UK given the "extreme pornongraphy" provisions of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill 2007 which would make decisions based on entirely subjective critieria of how an image "appears" to a viewer.

This would mean that you couldn't be certain that a picture you had was or was not "extreme" since your subjective view of it may well differ from someone else's and "it means that enforcers can seek out and silence particularly disliked people or speech".

Amazingly, though, a *Labour* MP, Harry Cohen has proposed a series of amendments to the Bill that would remove all references to "appears to" and include an exclusion for images where the participants consented.

For those who have been following the progress of the "Dangerous Pictures Act", can I strongly recommend you write to your MP via http://www.theyworkforyou.com and urge them to support these amendments to bring some much needed sanity to a ludicrous "Thought Crime" law.

For more details see http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk/

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Anonymous Coward

actually......

This would probably come from pressure from legitimate businesses who've been grabbing some of those photos from those sharing sites and using them in advertising.... remember the 'creative commons' article where the young girl suddenly found herself in an ad?

Without having to prove that the person in the pic is above a certain age, that takes away the only real legal hurdle they face if they choose to use someone's pic.

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Flame

Swings and roundabouts.

At least US law on child porn does allow the age of the model to be a defence. Here in the UK it's all about somebody having to judge how old the model appears to be, and some people do look dangerously young.

But it's not just age which makes the material illegal.

Anyway, while there are good reasons to keep under-18s out of the porn business, there's something broken about a system which classes people old enough to lawfully marry as children.

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Coat

US Constitution

why is the US Constitution, a document written hundreds of years ago by a bunch of slave owners, taken to be the fucking word of God?

oh, right. sorry, i forgot.

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RK
Flame

probably for the same reasons...

that a certain collection of documents ranging in age from 2-3 thousand years old, cobbled together from a number of cultures' mythologies, and translated several times from one language to another (with the attendant signal-to-noise ratio), is waved about as "the word of God" by an althogether disturbing number of people and used (frequently out-of-context) to justify many repugnant behaviors and prejudices.

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@Eleanor Rigby

It all has to do with how a Constitutional form of government is established. Our forefathers (and foremothers!) got together and DECIDED that the Constitution would BE the law of the land. Of course, I'm translating your "fucking word of God" to the more correct "law of the land".

If you stayed in school, you would know this. Oh. Wait. With the schools these days spending more time trying to make you "feel good" than "be smart", it's no wonder you come across as an idiot.

I would definitely recommend that you READ the US Constitution. It is a very interesting document. You will find that they spend a great deal of time word smithing the original Constitution and the first 10 amendments. After that, it gets more and more into legal jargon. Too bad.

If you still have a hard time understanding what they MEANT, I would have to suggest you do a bit of reading on the subject. This might surprise you to learn, but the folks that were around during the writing and ratification of the Constitution actually spent a great deal of time TALKING about what was meant and what wasn't meant. This was mostly through articles published in news papers (no TV, no radio, no internet!!!), so much of that actually survives and has been published in book form so we can go back and actually understand these folks thoughts.

Of course, this all assumes you CAN read...

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